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A Wish for 2001

                        (Good Any Time)


While this is the season for planting tulip bulbs and perennials for next Spring, now is an excellent time to start new trees and shrubs.

Habitat is a hard thing to lose….

TREES are our first concern as they give us back so much, and are being forgotten or marauded in our gallop into growth.

Some simple rules if you are planting:

- Plant when trees are dormant, Fall to late Winter (or early Spring). Most species are becoming dormant now as the weather cools, but the soil is still warm enough for roots to grow before winter. Try to plant before soil temperature has fallen to 40 degrees Fahrenheit to a depth of approximately 8 inches. This would be late November in zone 5.

Check with your nurseries or farm extension.

-Transplant a small tree and wait a few years for it to grow up. Let professional tree movers handle large trees.

-Research your tree. Know how tall and wide it’s going to get, so you’re not disappointed in future years nor crowded by a monster. Check its winter hardiness and tolerance of summer heat, or wind.. Note what kinds of trees do well in your area – native trees and plants are tailor-made by nature to survive your territory. Check out your site. Your tree needs space for a lifetime. What is its lifetime? Does it take shade or sun, or a mix?

-Avoid growing up through overhead lines. Keep enough distance from the foundation of your home that major roots will not press against it. Think where large root systems may grow in the future in relation to underground drain tiles, leach beds, utility lines or pipes. Try to choose trees that will tolerate your soil and weather conditions.

There are many non-profit sources of information about selecting and planting your trees. Two excellent ones are:

The National Council of State Garden Clubs
4401 Magnolia Ave.
St. Louis, Missouri 63110
home page:


The National Arbor Day Foundation
100 Arbor Ave.
Nebraska City, NE 68410
home page:

Also check your local garden center, botanical garden, conservation department, arborists, or library.

TREES, with a minimum of care, give us back oxygen and food -- fruits, berries, nuts, seeds, sugar, nectar, insects, foliage, roots (for humans and non-humans). They provide habitat and shelter; cool shade in the summer; firewood in the winter; windbreaks against storms; privacy barriers; boundary markers; living memorials for loved ones; encouragement to wild things; structure, beauty, and even music. We would have no birds without trees. And research has shown that like African birds on the backs of rhinos and hippos, birds keep trees clean of insects and enable them to thrive.*

Planting a tree is something one person can do now as a gift for the future, which will include something of you.

*Recommended Reading: "Scientists Find the Presence of Songbirds Affects Forest Health." National Wildlife. August/September, 1995.

Worth checking: find out how you can help stop tropical forest destruction around the world at Rainbow Alliance on the Internet at: